In the midst of celebrating the end of the school year, student accomplishments, the performance of the spring musical, art show, and saying goodbye to retiring faculty and staff, we pause to honor the life's work of former faculty member and legendary coach, Spencer "Spence" Wright P'72, '75 who died at the age of 94 on May 16, 2019.
We have a choice as an independent school:
- Create a facade that we are a perfect school community in order to attract prospective families and hope they don’t see our flaws too soon. OR
- Present openly the challenges that accompany educating 370 adolescents in a boarding school setting within an incredibly competitive boarding school market.
Few moments in life will match the excitement of being eight years old and diving into the imaginary world of Hogwarts alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione. As I read The Sorting Hat chapter aloud to my son last night, I thought about what it would be like if we tried to categorize each student into a dorm or group based on their personality, ambitions, and character upon their arrival at Proctor. How would that classification define their Proctor experience? Would it enhance or detract from their journey through high school? Do we subconsciously do this at Proctor?
Over the past few months, prospective families have navigated the admissions process at a number of independent schools. While each stage of the admissions process sparks important questions, the most difficult decision for each prospective student occurs during these last days before we ask families to submit contracts for the 2019-2020 school year.
Over the past couple of weeks several students received their second “major” violation, resulting in dismissal from school. It’s been disruptive. Disruptive for the students, their families, and the community. Students who have been dismissed find themselves on the outside of Proctor looking in, and for many it is a particularly clarifying moment: invulnerability dissipates, self reflection kicks in, relationships are reassessed. Students who are dismissed can access a process that allows them to “appeal” the decision, to request that the door to the community be reopened one last time. Not all request an appeal, but most do. Is it too lenient to let students request what is essentially a third chance?
In this age of technology, we are processing the constant flow of information, the next notification, the next piece of news to break, soaking up the dopamine of the never-ending scroll our social media provides. Within this world of insatiable, ever present content, we forget the feeling of excitement and anticipation that accompanies awaiting. Delayed gratification is a good thing! For the roughly 175 students who have been admitted, the waiting is over!